Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Defense Attorneys

Salt Lake City (Murray)
Free 15 Min. Consultation  :  Nights & Weekends  :  Easy Payments

801-651-1512  -  24/7

Free 15 Min. Consultation 24/7

801-651-1512

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Office Location

Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
Salt Lake City Law Office Map



Utah Legislature Tackles Affinity Fraud


When a business owner seeks investors, it’s only natural to first seek funding from friends, family and one’s close circle of friends. But that can bring trouble if the investment opportunity goes south and investors are out funds.

The Utah Legislature approved a bill this year—SB101—that will impose tough penalties on anyone convicted of using his or her influence or exploiting a position of trust to take advantage of an investor or a vulnerable senior citizen. It was signed into law by the governor on March 25.

This bill was the result of a number of highly publicized criminal cases involving "affinity fraud"—when a person or entity preys upon members of an identifiable group (such as a religious group or the elderly) when committing financial fraud.

Affinity fraud has been a significant problem for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Utah. Mormons have disproportionately fallen prey to financial schemes pitched to them by people who are members of their LDS ward or who hold positions of authority within their church. One woman who testified before the Senate Business and Labor Committee, which initiated the bill, said she had been defrauded by a man who taught a finance class at her church under the direction of the bishop of that ward.

Keith Woodwell, director of the Utah Division of Securities, said that in Utah, the percentage of affinity fraud cases is much higher than what is found in most of the U.S., closer to 50 percent.

Often, people in leadership within a group, people who may have bestowed authority and trust upon the person perpetrating the crime, have also been victims of fraud themselves. Because of the close-knit nature of the group and the confusion and embarrassment victims feel, this kind of fraud is often not reported.

When trusted relationships end in a criminal charge, it is often in the form of a pyramid scheme, where the money of later investors is used to repay prior investors until there is no money left to pay out. But it can also involve bad investment advice from a stockbroker or financial planner or a real estate deal gone sour.

The new law requires the courts to consider additional factors when hearing a financial fraud case and it specifies an affirmative defense for those charged with affinity fraud. If found guilty, the defendant in a criminal fraud case could face enhanced criminal penalties.

Clients with disabilities or impairments

Access to our office is available to clients and their family members at all times. Special equipment and communication devices are available upon request for our clients with visual, hearing, speech and physical impairment. In addition, arrangements can be made for verbal or sign language interpreters if needed to communicate between our attorneys and the client and family. Please notify our law office if any additional accommodations related to your disability or impairment are necessary to make your consultation more comfortable.

I understand that I am contacting a corporation, not an individual, and that if I do business with the law firm, it will be with that corporation, not any individual(s). I understand that Greg Smith and Associates is not the legal name of the law firm, rather, it is "Affordable Legal Advocates, PC." I also understand that whatever may relate to, or arise out of, any communication with the law firm, which results in any type of legal action, such must be brought in the Third District Court of Utah, West Jordan Department, and that this is mandatory not permissive.

We Can Help You Now

Call 801-651-1512   Call Now 24/7 Free Consultation: 24/7, nights & weekends
Typically No Retainer - Easy Payments!*

Use our secure private form

I have read the disclaimer.

Feedback From Satisfied Clients

"The domestic violence and DUI crimes that I was charged with would have ruined my career. Thank you for saving me! You are worth every penny I paid you."

More Testimonials >

Avvo Clients' Choice Award. 5 Stars
5 Star Rating


   Review Us On Google

Office Location

Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
Salt Lake City Law Office Map




Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Law Attorneys, located in Salt Lake City (SLC), also represents clients from communities such as Provo, Orem, Payson, Ogden, Park City, Sandy, Draper, West Valley City, Bountiful, Murray, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Farmington, Alta, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley City and Richfield; and counties including Salt Lake County, Summit County, Tooele County, Sevier County and Davis County, Utah.

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